Computer Village operators groan over ongoing demolition in Ikeja
The ongoing demolition around the Computer Village market, Ikeja by the Lagos State Government (LASG) is seriously unsettling traders plying their trade in the market.
The LASG is currently demolishing some houses, and has also pulled down the roundabout in Ikeja with the hope of expanding the road, give more access to motorists and remodel the entire environment.
But this demolition of houses has affected hundreds of shops of traders plying their trades in the market. Traders, who spoke with The Guardian, decried the exercise, describing it as inhuman. They claimed that they have been rendered useless because their means of livelihood have been taken away from them.
According to a phone dealer Tayo Dada, who was a victim of the destruction, N1,200 was levied on everyone with a stand to showcase their product and N300 for rovers without a shop by the Task Force, stressing that despite this, “the small spaces that we were managing have been demolished. How do we survive now?”
Another dealer, Solomon Ike, said without a shop, they cannot make sales. He said: “Buyers don’t really respond to those without a shop over their head, they simply rain insults on them. Now, they have pushed us all out on the street.”
“Before now, our sales have dropped because of the bad economy, poor purchasing power of the people, exchange rate fluctuation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. People are just getting to be stable and now the demolition. I have four kids who are in school. How do I pay school fees and take care of them with what this government has done?”
A female shop owner, Ngozi Ibim, also decried the situation, stressing that she has been the breadwinner of her family since her husband lost her job four years back. “We have three kids and other family members to take care of. It is the sales we make here that we use to augment things at home. Now demolition has happened!”
Another shop owner, Segun Adekunle said due to the pandemic, the market now has less than 30 per cent of buyers coming into the market, which generally has also caused a great decline in sales activities for the majority of sellers.
Adekunle said people are now making use of the online platforms, the eCommerce firms to purchase their goods, including devices.
MEANWHILE, prices of items have gone up in the market. Shade Akinwale, who was in the market to get her phone repaired, had to go back home because the price of fixing it was beyond her reach.
“I wanted to fix the screen of my Samsung phone. On getting here, the street engineer said I should part with N35, 000, which is far beyond my budget. I will have to go back home and manage the phone until luck smiles on me to be able to get another one,” she stated.